What exactly is a "music-driven FPS," because apparently that's what Harmonix's newly announce game Chroma is. Take some music, shove it in a gun and then have some space hipsters battle it out in some crazy future arena and that's a game. Accompanying the announcement is a launch trailer, an oddity in itself, as well as the opening of registrations for Chroma's alpha. Oh, did I mention Chroma is free-to-play? So free.
Perhaps Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos can explain the concept a little more clearly than myself:
"Chroma has been a dream project of mine for some time. Watching the teams at Harmonix and Hidden Path begin to bring this vision to life has been tremendously exciting. We're also thrilled to release an alpha version of this game and to evolve it in collaboration with our players. We can't wait to hear what people think of this new approach to both first-person shooters and music games."
Hmm, nothing really revelatory in that statement beyond the news that Harmonix is working with the studio Hidden Path, creators of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, on Chroma. Maybe Mark Terrano, Chief Creative Officer at Hidden Path, can shed a little more light on what this game really is:
"Truly new experiences in video games are very rare. At Hidden Path Entertainment we were delighted to help Harmonix realize their dream of a musical shooter, and are looking forward to the next step – seeing it continue to evolve with the energy, input and creativity from the game community!"
What even, guys. How about a little insight into what this game is, let alone the thoughts behind creating an FPS where you fight with music. I'm pretty sure that's not too much to ask. I guess we'll just jump straight into the feature list, because I'm still absolutely confused as to what sort of game Chroma is:
- Music-driven FPS gameplay – Music matters. Chroma features innovative first-person shooter mechanics that tie the game's soundtrack directly to combat, traversal, and more.
- Music is your weapon – Unleash streams of sound and music with your arsenal and bring the musical landscape to life in battle! From deep wobbling bass to the crunch of an electric guitar, crushing metal drums to poppy synths, choose a weapon load-out that reflects your musical tastes and personal style and take your sounds into battle.
- Band together – Your team is your band: Join up with your friends and battle for glory.. Master multiple classes, each with their own unique musical gameplay mechanics and perks, and lead your team to victory.
- Conquer shifting terrain – "Change Ups" at major musical moments dramatically alter the landscape of the battlefield in real time both physically and strategically, raising sniper towers, adding cover, and more in sync with the music.
- Free-to-play, but not "pay-to-win" – Free to jump in and play with deep customization, but smartly designed to preserve a fun and fair experience for all players.
Okay, that's a little more clear, but I still think it's going to take some heavy gameplay footage for me, or anyone really, to grasp what Chroma really is. Using the game's sountrack to directly effect combat and traversal is one thing, but what does that look and feel like? How about shooting music, is it just like shooting a normal gun and then calling it music or does it have to be on rhythm? Gah.
As for Chroma's announcement trailer, I can't really call it anything other than ridiculous. It opens with odd cuts of television channels, followed by a news broadcast covering the "Arena" an then we get to the cinematic. It features a dude whose chest is made of space shooting a dubstep gun who gets gunned down by a chick whose chest is made of major cleavage. Not sure what music she's shooting.
That's Chroma. Free-to-play first-person multiplayer shooter based on music in some way that's not entirely clear! Exciting concept, to be sure, but this is one that really needs to be played to experienced, right? I guess it's good that it'll be free-to-play so we can all try it out. Expect it on PC via Steam later this year.